Friday, April 30, 2010

Off to the Channel Islands

Well, we're off to catch the plane early tomorrow so we should be in Jersy by lunchtime - volcanos and fog permitting. I don't think the weather forecast is very brill but then again it is a bank holiday so..
Moments panic when Mr Nell couldn't find the paper bit of his drivers licence but luckily it's turned up. He doesn't like my driving - sometimes I don't like my driving but I'm worse if he's with me as he drives for me and he's a fiddler - he will keep playing with the heating, the radio, the windows argh.
I'm looking forward to revisiting some of our favourite places, Gorey and Corbiere and even if it piddles down I don't care - the hotel has a jacuzzi and a bar. I can stock up on reading materials and be perfectly content.
So, be good while I'm gone and why not visit HERE while I'm away and listen to a snippet of The Cinderella Substitute.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Exciting stuff

Well, I'm easily excited by stuff, I really don't get out much as you know. This weekend I'm off to Jersey with Mr Nell for our anniversary and I'm going to go to the RNA summer party with Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury aka the coffee crew. It was one of those lovely mad impulse ideas so Phillipa has our train tickets and I've just posted my cheque for the party ticket. To top off my plans my former work colleague was chatting with me last night and we're planning a spa day for June. Happy Sigh.
I'm almost done with the report for the huge day job research project, that'll be finished by tomorrow. I'm on target for this months word count - eight chapters done this month! Fourteen to go! and my editor has been in touch to say there was nothing for me to change from the copy editor for Just Look at Me Now,so now I just have to wait for the galley proofs for the final snagging. All my anguishing about pulling off the third person writing after such a long gap seems to have been in vain thank goodness. Hope Me, You and Him is as smooth if anyone chooses to buy it when it's done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Cinderella Substitute - audio book

The Cinderella Substitute releases on April 30th as an audio book. If you missed your chance to read this in print then you can now listen to a lovely Canadian lady telling you the story of Nate and Jenny. Available from HERE
In the two years since the tragic car crash that killed his fiancĂ©e, Nathanial (Nate) Mayer has successfully avoided another relationship. His family and especially his twin sister Nathalie are worried. Jennifer (Jenni) Blake is Nate’s personal assistant. Hired after the accident, she has her own problems to deal with, including the deaths of her adoptive parents and the debts incurred by their nursing care. But those difficulties pale into insignificance when Jenni finally traces her birth mother…

A bargain at $12.99

Monday, April 26, 2010

anyone for coffee?

I'm stealing a couple of hours to meet with the coffee crew today, Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury. We're having lunch and talking about the workshp we're giving together on May 15th at Wombourne. None of us really has much time at the moment but we've earned a couple of hours off for good behaviour.
My list of tasks is still huge and I'm off to Jersey on Saturday with Mr Nell sans belles. It's our Silver Wedding anniversary so he's taking me away for a few days. I dunno if he's bringing me back although I haven't caught him checking my life insurance.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Running on the spot

That's what it feels like lately. I'm so busy it's ridiculous. My to do list for this weekend ran into two pages. Oh well, it'll all get done eventually I suppose. Eldest belle got through her French oral and thinks she scaped a pass - it's her weakest section but isn't worth many marks so fingers crossed. Luckily it was on the subjects that I'd practiced with her the night before and the rescue remedy worked a treat - so well- that half her class took some before they went in!
Me, You and Him is progressing nicely. I know it's at a good point when the story is beginning to possess me and feels real in my head. I can see Myrtle Cottage, Kate and Louise so clearly. I can see Steve playing his guitar in the garden and the cat curled up in a sunlight patch next to the brambles and wildflowers. I'm almost at 46k now and the story is all there in my head ready to roll.
Now if I can just finish this report for the day job and complete the million and one other things I need to do before Saturday...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Animal Instincts got reviewed!

I almost never get reviewed so this is exciting - well it is for me! And happily the reviewer loved it READ IT HERE The lovely Debs from Novelicious gave it a big thumbs up! I also found a review on there for Blue Remembered Heels that I didn't know about either! Squee!!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

examination angst

Eldest belle is stressing over her upcoming GCSE's. Please send good luck vibes for her French oral exam tomorrow. I've just fetched recue remedy drops for her to try and help the stress. Miss La, my youngest belle has lost a school shoe - she thinks it may have been left on the playing field yesterday after a netball tournament or it's possible that a child from another school now has an extra shoe in her kit bag. Since Miss La has very narrow feet and finding shoes for her are nigh on impossible I am not impressed. She's currently wearing a pair of eldest belle's old shoes that escaped the charity bag collection yesterday.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What a day!

Today has been a little trying to say the least. I got to the day job to find the fire/burglar alarm ringing. No break in but the alarm is busted and won't turn off. Finally got the ringing to cease to an annoying buzz. Discovered there is no contract on the alarm - it's an annex building and got overlooked when the main contract was negotiated. Spend time with garden manager trying to locate original company and local companies for quote to come out and fix/new install and for an annual contract. Plumbers arrive to install new and expensive outdoor sinks - unwrap pallet to discover one very expensive sink isn't there. Discover someone had signed delivery note to say it was there. Finally sort out with manufacturors to find it was their error and expensive custom made outdoor sink is still in factory and won't be out till next week. Switch on work computer - outlook is broken - can't access email.
Start work on very complicated and urgent document involving much cutting, pasting and swearing. 2 hours later, almost done word crashes on computer and computer refuses to restart. Spend thirty minutes coaxing computer back to life and rescuing document. By this time it's not even lunch time and I'm ready to go home.
My afternnon didn't improve much as even more stuff happened although my jobshare partner and I found a nice plate of mac and cheese at Savacentre followed by eating our own bodyweight in malteasers in the afternoon helped a little.
Now I'm home and waiting for the wine to chill and my pizza to arrive. I've earned it today!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting organised-ish

Today is a desk day. Trying to get an EH1C card for middle belle for her school trip this summer. Apparently this means we all have to be on it even though the rest of us aren't going. It also requires us knowing our NHS numbers -sigh. These were filed all together except mine for some reason but anyway they are now all lost together except mine and mine apparently is no good as it's an old number and everyone was given sparkly new ones eight years ago. Now I have to wait for the NHS to send us all new ones which the nice man has offered to do.
I've chased up several receipts for the close of the 09-10 tax year ready to tackle the forms in the summer and have started my file and receipt book for the new tax year. This makes me feel very organised and efficient although will still mean I get a severe headache in the summer when I try to go through all my info to complete the forms. I just need my tax forms from the day job and Mr Nell's job and I'll have all my paperwork ready.
Next up is my subscribers newsletter for my readers for this quarter and I need to send out press releases for a workshop in May which I'm giving with Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury as part of adult education week. (May 15th 2 til 4 Wombourne Library - setting the scene - how research makes your writing stronger. Also may be useful for english GCSE students looking at persuasive language)
I might even get some writing done then after all that.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Writerly advice

Sorry I haven't managed to upload the photos yet. Just lately I've recieved quite a few emails asking me for writing advice. I'm not sure I'm the best person to dispense advice on writing. I can only tell you what has worked and what continues to work for me. You may think differently or find other routes for your writing but for what it's worth here are some of my rules:
1. Writers write. They don't just go to workshops, lunches, conferences, talks and talk, twitter or blog about writing. They actually sit there, day after day and write. Unless you write you are not a writer.
2. Read - notice what you like and look at why you like it. What authors do you admire - why? What don't you like? Learn from it.
3. Edit your work, take out the repitions, the awkward phrases, the nice twiddly bits that you love but which don't advance the plot.
4. Let your work rest and write something else - give yourself some distance from your work and then edit again.
5. Submit and use any feedback you can get to improve your work. Yes, go to workshops etc but only - only - if you are writing. Not as a displacement activity.
6. Set yourself goals and deadlines, the practice at keeping them will be good for when you are published.
7. Keep writing. There will always be someone who gets better sales, wins more trophys, lands a bigger contract, gets a better review. It doesn't matter - that's their journey. Your journey is yours alone and the only thing you have any control over is your writing. The rest is luck, hardwork, and perserverence.

There are no magic capsules to give you more time to write, no special in's to land your book a publishing contract (Unless you happen to be Katie Price).
Writers write so get off the net and go finish your book.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brr - where did the sun go?

Maybe it's behind the cloud of volcanic ash. We're back! No net access while I was away so I'm a bit behind. Okay, I'm a lot behind. I didn't do any writing but I did do lots of research - I bought a great book on costumes through the ages, visited heaps of ye olde worlde cottages and saw an archeological dig in Stratford. I'm back at the day job tomorrow then I'm hoping that I'll get loads of writing done in between tackling the laundry mountain and chasing up stuff for the belles to return to school on Tuesday. I'll put some pictures up as soon as I've downloaded them of where we've been.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Five go off to the Cotswolds

We're leaving the house and the fish in the capable hands of the sitters while we disappear for a few days to the Cotswolds in the tourer. I may or may not have net access while we're gone. This time we're staying at Moreton-in-the-marsh so I'm not sure what access they'll have. The Belles inform me there is a market there tomorrow which they plan to attend. I'm hoping we can go look at old cottages as my research for Me. You and Him. I realised yesterday that chapter wise I'm halfway through the book - eep, how did that happen? and still tons of stuff to go. Is there a ghost? Who is the father of Louise's baby? Will Kate choose Steve or Mike? and is Chuck above board? All these questions and more in the next seventeen chapters - cue the Dick Barton Music....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Animal Instincts goes large!

Loving this fab cover for the Large Print version of Animal Instincts!

Grand National

I absolutely love the National, always have, right from when I was small. My grandad used to spend hours with me discussing form and choosing horses and it's the one race I always place a bet on and then scream myself hoarse in front of the TV cheering on 'my' nag. My family think it's hysterically funny that I have an online betting account which is used once a year to place a couple of £1 bets.
For those of you interested this year I'm backing Comply or Die and Irish Raptor.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Spring has Sprung

A strange glowing yellow orb has filled the sky and there are three mile tail backs outside the DIY stores. Daffodils have fought their way through their winter coats of discarded McDonald wrappings to gladden the hearts of motorists as they sit in the traffic on their way to the municipal tip with their fifteenth carload of stuff that might come in handy one day.
Yes, the good folk of the Black Country have discarded their winter hoodies and now are sporting vest tops in the promised warmth of the strange phenomena known as Spring. There is even talk of taking down the last of the outdoor Christmas lights in some neighbourhoods.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Viva Espania

Hot on the Blue heels of the Indonesian version of Blue Remembered heels I found out yesterday that there will be a Spanish version too - out in just a few weeks. Sigh, the downside to this is that they may be putting a picture of me somewhere on the cover and as you know there is not a proper authorly picture of me in existence. mr Nell thinks this is quite funny and keeps quoting lines from 'Romancing the Stone' where the romance novelist Joan Wilder get's recognised.
Someone tell him he's not funny.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


The unedited first chapter of Just Look at Me Now is up on my website and since Blue Remembered Heels came out in Indonesia I seem to be getting a lot of Indonesian visitors which is lovely. I'm sure though that one of my lovely visitors said it was on the young adult fiction list there. Interesting... I can see how that might work as two of the characters in it are quite young and it is a sweet romance so won't shock anyone. Just Look at Me Now on the other hand does have one scene which is probably the steamiest I've written for years. Hmmm.
My newsletter will be going out in a couple of weeks time and I'm planning some extra giveaways for subscribers so if you aren't already on the mailing list then hop over to my website (link in the sidebar) and add yourself. I mail out four times a year - no spam.

Monday, April 05, 2010

To pee or not to pee?

Sorry, couldn't resist the pun. Ahem, so how have I spent the Easter bank hol monday? Yep, doing stuff for the day job. Namely visiting camping stores to buy a chemical camping toilet for an allotment project. The project is a new local community venture and primary school children will be working on there but there's no toilet. Since portable toilets and new builds are way out of there budget we have an eco friendly chemical toilet, a shed and a wind up eco light. It'll be great for what the project wants and if they get more money later then they can look to getting a more permanent solution.
Writing wise I've been storming along with three chapters in three days. I wish sometimes I had the luxury of a bit more time so I could write like this more often but then I'd miss out on the joys of camping shops. Did you know you can get a velour covered inflatable sofa?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

Matt 28:5-6 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

Matt 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Wishing everyone a happy, joyous and peaceful Easter

Saturday, April 03, 2010

And a heroine

Every hero deserves a good heroine. This is Kate, who might be the perfect match for Steve if both of them would stop being so pigheaded about it.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Holding out for a hero

Casting a hero is hard. Steve, the hero in Me, You and Him is an ex boyband member turned property developer. He's got that sort of cheeky twinkle that draws women to him even when he doesn't want to. When I cast a hero I don't focus so much on the look, although that helps me remember what colour hair they've got but it's more about the persona. So, after much thinking - meet my inspiration for Steve